SEIU 2008 Convention-Victory for Suppression
|The SEIU 2008 Convention in Puerto Rico came to a merciful end and the
extensive damages from this tropical storm are still being evaluated and
assessed. Sadly, there were few survivors and many victims are yet to be
identified. The worst of the storm took its toll on Democracy, Openness and
Freedom of Speech. According to survivors and experienced professionals, it
may be years before full and complete effects of the storm are known.
The storm began brewing when Sal Rosselli, President of UHW, began
distancing himself from Stern's practice of "Company Unionism" at the cost
of members involvement and decision making. The turbulence increased when a
series of lawsuits and counter actions developed between UHW and SEIU. The
turbulence was exacerbated by a cold front from the CNA (California Nurses
Association) which resulted in disturbances at Dearborn, Michigan. Injuries
The initial indications of the pending disaster came during the delegation
process when reports of prolific involvement of staff, loyal to the Stern
vision of SEIU, began surfacing. Charges of improprieties resulted from both
UHW and Stern. Dark clouds over the delegation process were reported from
witnesses and the media.
In Puerto Rico, the tropical depression formed at San Juan when witnesses
and delegates reported that unprecendented riot-equiped security measures
had been implememted at the convention site. Credentials were questioned,
news media were excluded, delegates were confined to designated convention
areas and a carefully choreographed process was enforced.
However, some sunlight was reported when S.M.A.R.T.
[www.reformseiu.org] members began questioning the proposals,
offering amendments, differing points of view and began networking to
educate members on the importance of democracy within SEIU
[www.seiuvoice.org]. Based on reports, that effort was very successful and
will bear fruit in the coming weeks.
There was also significant picketing by the Puerto Rican Teachers Union
(FMPR)[labornotes.org/node/1696] of the convention that was intended
to get the attention of SEIU delegates, but the security measures dampened
their efforts and most of the delegates were hustled back inside.
The storm eventually took its toll and the damage was done. The proposals
that Stern wanted were largely approved, as expected. Stern was re-elected,
as expected and the SEIU Administration will have more power and more of our
dues money to play with.
The silver lining is that the movement for democracy will now continue to
grow exponentially and more members are beginning to wake up and ask the
hard questions about SEIU's direction. The media is paying more attention to
the labor movement. A new light is coming from the horizon and the sun may
soon shine again.
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